Combatting Child Abuse, Sci-Fi Style


Casper Van Dien, best known to scifi geeks as “Johnny Rico” from Starship Troopers, has filmed two short PSAs for Childhelp, an anti-child-abuse organization. The weird part is that Van Dien does them in character.

In this first ad, Van Dien in full Starship Troopers regalia talks about child abuse as though he’s describing the aliens his character fought in the movies and without identifying himself. When he describes the "war" we are fighting against "the nastiest creatures in the galaxy — more horrible than any I ever encountered," one realizes both why Van Dien went on to star in two more Starship Troopers movies and that it’s probably not the best thing to compare child abusers to giant bugs since, as this AdCounci ad points out, child abusers sort of look just like everyone else.

In the slightly less freaky ad, Van Dien identifies both himself and his Starship Troopers character, as though the vaguely martial music and special effects and his costume from the movie don’t give it away. He also slips in a plug for the third installment in the Troopers series before referring, again, to child abuse as a "war" and ending with, I swear, "I need you on this battlefield, Trooper." Schlock factor of 10.

I’m all for celebrity PSAs that aren’t prompted by plea agreements that require public service, and some of them can even be effective. But I’m not sure that using Casper Van Dien and the costumes/sets from what is, at best, a fringe-y SciFi movie that he is promoting is helpful to the cause of eliminating child abuse. I guess free publicity is free publicity, but I don’t know what these ads are intended promote other than the existence of the organization or the movie franchise, such as it is, but it does feel a little exploitative to promote a movie franchise in the guise of ending child abuse.

A Pair Of Galactically Odd Child-Abuse PSAs [AdFreak]

Related: Childhelp
Child Abuse Prevention – Coffee Shop [AdCouncil]

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